'Chappie' review: Director Neill Blomkamp stumbles with grating sci-fi comedy

March 9, 2015 9:04 AM

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Sometimes, "Chappie" is more of a "Robocop" reboot than the actual "Robocop" reboot. The parallels to Paul Verhoeven's 1987 satirical sci-fi classic are plenty: an ultraviolent urban setting in the not-too-distant future, intelligent-robot law enforcement, a showdown between a goliath cop-bot reject and its smaller rival, a discussion of what it means to be human.

South African director Neill Blomkamp's influences - James Cameron, Ridley Scott and especially Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers" - have been prevalent in his major works so far. His 2009 feature debut "District 9" was both thoughtful and entertaining. But since then, it's been diminishing returns: 20...

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